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It is probably because the anthologies are already starting to seem commonplace that certain advertisements of Kasada Tabara by Chimbu Deven, have sought to distance the film from this label. And yet this film, the director’s first in half a decade, IS an anthology (though they prefer to call it a hyperlink film) – with separate titles and themes for each section – but with a twist. . All six stories in this film take place in the same world, and the protagonists of one often turn out to be peripheral characters in the other, but with the power to dramatically alter events.
The film introduces us to this idea by dropping fancy terminology like ‘point of view theory’ and ‘Butterfly Effect’, but in reality, the idea that a small cause can sometimes create a deep effect is quite easy to understand, and if you paid close attention to life, sometimes observed too. In a society as populous and as complex as ours, the effects can often occur in spaces and among people that we are not a part of, and that is why Chimbu Deven, in a sense, is playing the role of God. He holds the point of view and shows us the interplay between cause and effect that the characters themselves are not aware of. In the first film, for example, Bala (Premgi Amaren) performs a small act of kindness that unwittingly snowballs in the end. However, the question is, is this journey moving to watch or at the very least engaging?
I felt kinder to the last segment, Akkarai, which features Venkat Prabhu in the lead, and that’s because he’s in no rush to get seats. It helps that Venkat Prabhu brings a lot of vulnerability to his portrayal of a man who is on death row. It’s nice that this story doesn’t try to cram a lot, an issue that almost every other movie is guilty of.
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It is not so much what is said, but how it is said. For example, the first film, Kavasam, tells about how Trisha (Regina Cassandra) is in love with Bala (a sympathetic Premgi Amaren). It’s one chance encounter after another, and soon she is seemingly stricken. In one scene at the start, Bala warns her about the water filter that dispenses scorching hot water, and as he walks away, she turns to him with a look of such longing that one wonders if no one had given him a kind word – which means warning never in his life. She already seems inside him – and because he warned her about the risk of burning her lips?
The next film, Sadhiyaadal, is about the problems of a romantic marriage, but more importantly, the lust for power. There is something about a “daddy” (Sampath) and his son (Shanthanu). It’s a film that tries to be Machiavellian but fails to communicate a real sense of depth, its individual moments seem simple and yet fabricated.
As in the second, the third film, Thappaattam, too, has deep ideas. He tries to talk about caste oppression, to argue against extrajudicial killings, but the writing doesn’t seem to capture or communicate the complexity or importance of these topics. The film is the equivalent of Kanmani (Priya Bhavani Shankar), who accuses her husband of murder, but lacks the understanding / depth to engage in a conversation about it with him. The background music, like in a few other segments, dominates the dialogue to the point that sometimes you can barely understand what is being said, but in a movie that fails to create a real emotional investment, that doesn’t really bother me.
The fourth segment, Pandhayam, is perhaps among the most interesting stories in this film. This is Kish (Harish Kalyan), an opportunist and a con artist who will not be prevented from making his fortune. The idea, as you’ve probably guessed by now, is interesting, but what about the details? Kish says he’s going to turn 1 crore to 100 crore, and you’re mesmerized, but then it’s too easy. This movie and its many segments often expect you to bow your head and just take it at your word. Bala and Trisha are now in love (first segment), he says, and you’re not supposed to say, “Uh, but I’m not buying it! “
The fifth segment, Arampattra, is a bloody story about pharmaceutical corruption, and what can I say about it except that for the most part it looks like a government sponsored ad meant to educate you about the dangers of healthcare. private. This is really the last movie, Akkarai, in which I was invested. The subject of a prisoner on death row isn’t an idea we’ve explored much, and Venkat Prabhu’s performance brings a lot to the table.
If I remember a little of this Chimbu Deven film, it will be for some interesting casting choices: Harish Kalyan playing a negative character, Premgi Amaren moving away from humor, Venkat Prabhu playing an aggrieved prisoner… But what says- it from a six pack of shorts that I will best remember for an interesting cast?
Director: Chimbu Deven
Actors: Sundeep Kishan, Harish
Kalyan, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Regina Cassandra, Premgi Amaren,
Venkat Prabhu, Vijayalakshmi
Streaming on: SonyLIV